Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Al ha-Nissim

A good friend and Piyut scholar has composed a new Al ha-Nissim prayer for Yom ha-Atsma'ut. Check it out and comment here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Meir Benayahu

Professor Meir Benayahu passed away yesterday, at the age of 82. He began his scholarly career when he was only 17, and made extensive contributions to the field of early modern Oriental Jewry and bibliography. He was also a renowned bibliophile, building the library he inherited from his father, Chief Rabbi Yitshak Nissim, into one of the best private Jewish collections. Early on, he established Yad Ben Zvi, and later he opened a research institute named after his father - Yad ha-Rav Nissim.

Yad ha-Rav Nissim has published many important books, but for the past few years they've been quiet. This morning I saw a new and very important publication, which came out just a few days ago. It is a new edition of Mahzor Aram Zova, with an extensive introduction by several scholars. I don't remember all the details of Mahzor Aram Zova - I believe it represents a European (Spanish?) rite brought to Syria by Jewish immigrants, and that it was published only once, in a very rare and today incomplete printing. See here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Yesterday I made three purchases. At the Mosad ha-Rav Kook sale, I bought Sefer ha-Gan. The Mosad has been republishing many of their old titles (some of which reflect values that the place no longer embodies - the works of Isaac Breuer, now adopted by Yeshivat Siach; the works of Eliezer Berkovits, now adopted by Merkaz Shalem; the works of Rabbi Shem-Tov Gefen - who knows?). They have now issued a new printing of Sefer Hasidim (the Margaliyot-Bologna edition) with a new index. Besides listing topics, it has a special section listing all the exempla (ma'asiyot). And best of all, they're selling it separately at NIS 5 for those who already have a copy of Sefer Hasidim (or are holding out for the critical edition). So I bought that index too.

And I purchased Version 17 of the Responsa Project. I'm not that interested in any of the newly added responsa, but this version includes the complete text of R Menahem ha-Meiri's Bet ha-Behirah, and R. Mordechai ben Hillel's work. That alone should make it worthwhile. It also has medieval works that you wouldn't want to have to read through, like Malmad ha-Talmidim.